Back on Kauai, I have just spent 4 full days in Death Valley for the first time. Somehow it managed to coincide with the coldest tempertuares of the year as I experienced below freezing weather every night with the coldest being 14F on the last night at the Racetrack. Very bizarre considering the hottest temperature ever recorded was in this valley.
Having seen images from DV for years it was with much anticipation that I was able to visit and see for myself. The park itself is HUGE. Many hours to traverse across it with many roads needed 4wd and high-clearance. My car provided me with decent amounts of both for some good off-roading and washboard type roads. But no boulder hopping this time 😛
While there are many stories and images to share I will start with this photograph made on my first evening at the park. After getting some good advice to visit these remote dunes I headed out after my morning shoot clear across the park…2+hrs away. What I didnt realize is that these dunes were not right next to the road. As I followed the dirt roads I realized that it was going to be a park and hike kinda day. I picked a spot about in the middle of the length of this stretch of sand, packed my bag, water, WARM clothing, put a pin on my phone map so I didnt lose my car…and off I went. Looking out across the wash the dunes loom large…maybe 200+ft high. Hiking across a flood plain made for a unique experience as the evidence of rapidly flowing water (however infrequent) was apparent everywhere. Oh what a sight that must be to see (and NOT be standing where I was).
Making my arrival to my destination after approximately 1-1.5mi of hiking it was time to start finding lines. Often times I am first overwhelmed by the opportunities of locations like this…where to start!?! While taking in the fading sun and shapes that play along the dunes I knew my end goal for the night would be some star work. The sky was fairly clear and the moon was a crescent…so bright enough for some light but not too bright to overwhelm the stars. As twilight arrived I knew I needed a strong composition to compliment this scene. After playing around I settled on this edge of the dune leading up to the big peak. Then to wait. As the sun sets in the desert the temperature drops fairly quickly, that combined with the windy conditions had me in for a good introductory to Death Valley in winter. Just at the boarder of twilight and night it was time to make the exposure. Capturing the end of the magenta glow as the stars made their appearance. The clouds that happened to appear and hang around were some of the FEW that I saw my entire 4 days in Death Valley as was very lucky to have them exist where they did. After I made this exposure I waited a bit longer and did some star-trail work…but that’s for another day 😉
For more information on this and any other Death Valley images please contact us through the website or any aFeinberg Gallery!
It happens. We’re driving down the road, maybe someone else is at the wheel, and there’s that image that flys by our window. “Man, wish I had a camera”. Photographer or not we have the same experiences. On my last full day in the Eastern Sierra in Oct ’12 I was driving south to go check out the town of Bishop. Having spent the previous 2 days chasing light, I was constantly on the lookout for great arrangements of Aspens. What’s so unique about shooting fall color like this is I’m out in times of day I wouldnt even think about with other landscapes (read: middle hours of the day). The trees just glow when backlit which greatly extends the hours I normally shoot from sunrise/sunset to ALL day! This particular day, as I was booking it south, at somewhere between 70-80mph, there next to me was this cute little line of Aspens. I recall there being a momentarily thought of ‘should I keep going’ and then immediately realized that “I do what I want!” and pulled over (safely of course). Now naturally there was a fence to keep people out which meant it was time to stand on top of my car. If you ever see me photograph you’ll know this is my favorite place to be. Plus the added fun of people driving by me at highway speeds most likely thinking “what the hell is that guy doing!?”. Next step was to wait. Of course, this is landscape photography after all. With the clouds above I needed the sun to pop through to backlight these trees and make them POP. As the clouds parted a bit and the sun snuck (apparently this is not a real word, but we’re making it one) through I quickly captured this scene, climbed down off the roof of my car and was back on the road. All in a days work. 🙂
If you are interested in Collecting this unreleased image please contact any of the aFeinberg Galleries!
Another trip to California in the books…and this one did not dissapoint 🙂 While I photographed a few places, the Shasta area was my target again. And after the recent storms, had completely transformed to it’s winter coat. Amazing to see. Of course, it was MUCH colder than the last time I visited in August which kept me thinking if I had brought the right clothes for the job. Admittedly I am a winter person. My body runs warm. I love playing in the snow and skiing. The cold air in the nose. Fresh. Tingling. The quite. It’s just a special time of year. How and why I ended up in a tropical paradise…I can only say that the universe knows better than I do 🙂
While there were LOTS of incredible photos taken I offer you up the story of a special sunrise I was able to capture…please enjoy 🙂
445am alarm at hotel.
Get out to car…thick frost already over everything…it’s cold alright. Drive about 30min up to the trailhead on a frost covered road. Arriving in the parking lot there’s snow…in fact there’s a nice ground cover over the entire landscape. And it’s cold. Standing there in the dark I wonder what the hell am I doing up here? It’s completely dark, approx 25F and this hike will be completely in the snow. And there is wildlife out there…where…I have no idea, but that always enters the back of my mind. Well, this is what I’m here for. I just hope I stay warm as I hike up to 6k feet.
There’s something quite remarkable about hiking in the dark. Our surroundings merely include what our headlight illuminates, leaving the reset of the world a mystery. Then of course there are the forest noises. Which, thanks to the snow, are fairly minimal. I do love winter, a lot. No silence quite like it.
Having attempted this trail in August (and getting redirected lets call it) I was happy to follow the footprints of others that had already made the snowy trek. And to my surprise I was both warm and making great time. So much in fact that I arrived at the lake, (which was of course frozen over, so no reflections), before sunrise.
An even better surprise, the high cirrus glowing absolutely radiantly directly behind Mt. Shasta. Standing up on the ridge alone taking in the light and experience it makes that parking-lot-decision all worth while 🙂
To see more images from this incredible sunrise and some truly remarkable sunset (with reflection!) photographs please contact any aFeinberg Gallery or email us for more info 🙂
Having not been to a place before there are a certain amount of ways to approach the scene. Depending on the time one has it could be just a “grip it and rip it” trip. Whatever the light/clouds/conditions have that’s what we get. However, with a few days to explore I drove around a fair amount just looking. Mentally (and sometimes physically) categorizing locations under what conditions I wanted and want time of day.
This particular image was captured on my 3rd day along the Eastern Sierra. Having found this spot on my first day out I knew it had potential. The early morning light would first illuminate the mountain sides before finally reaching over the ridge and shining in to the foreground. This of course gives lots of options. If mother nature wanted to cooperate :p
Sleeping in my car the night before (bear encounter story for another time), I awoke to be overjoyed with the fact that there were clouds! Not something that one can always count on in that part of the world. I quickly made my way down to the scouted location, temperature around 30F and proceeded to spend 4 hours watching the light manipulate. I even went as far as grabbing my camping stove to cook breakfast while sitting there and waiting for the sun.
As the sun made it’s way higher in to the sky, the clouds shifted a bit and the valley floor was finally illuminated. Added with the unique sky I knew after I captured this photo it was time to move on 🙂